Sometimes the internet is a good place. As part of my ‘learning how to jump’ efforts this year, I bought a BMX. When I posted it in Fresh Goods Friday, a reader recommended I join ‘Ride On BMX’, a Facebook group for BMX riders over the age of 30.
I signed up, and read the rules: you could only post pictures or videos of you riding your bike – no ‘isn’t my bike pretty’ posts. It’s about the riding, not the kit. The page intro says ‘the main focus is on riding. Its not about how good you are, its just about that fact that you’re out there doing it.’
It was clear from the images posted that the riders there were much, much better than me, and also almost exclusively male. I lurked for a little while, then posted a video of me doing a teeny tiny trick, and said hello, in the hope of maybe meeting some local riders. By this point, my kids were getting a bit tired (read: embarrassed) of me chatting to teenagers at various skate parks. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and gave me helpful pointers about bike set up and technique (I asked for it – they weren’t mansplaining). Someone even went to the bother of downloading my video and producing an annotated diagram of screen shots to show how I could improve.
While it’s UK based in origins – there are meet ups across the UK organised by page owner Neil Waddington – it’s a worldwide community of riders, riding all forms of BMX. There are some very enviable back garden set ups out there, and some serious dirt jumps. There are people who never seem to leave an underground car park, and others who have cleared their garages to they can practice when it’s too slippery outside. It’s an impressive display of ‘age is just a mindset’.
Neil puts together a ‘Ride On’ edit, of clips submitted by page members. Every rider’s age is included, though the riding would be impressive at any age. This year’s edit is just out, check it out, and may I suggest you read the opening titles – there’s some good sentiment there:
I didn’t submit any of my trick footage. Partly because I was too shy to ask anyone to film me, and partly because my tricks are really rather small. Next year, maybe. Now, get off your screens, and go ride!